Attaining Yoga or Union:

Attaining Yoga or Union:
Yoga or "Union" is attained by first training, balancing, and purifying each of the aspects of our being individually, and then systematically receding attention inward through those levels, expanding so as to experience the state of Union, Yoga, Samadhi, or Turiya.

Monday, February 26, 2007

About the Words "Hindu" and "Hinduism"


The words "Hindu" and "Hinduism" are described in different ways by different people. The origins and usages of the terms are not universally agreed upon. As you'll see in the references below, "Hindu" and "Hinduism" have been variously used to describe one or another of culture, geography, or religion. Some say that the terms were not used by the indigenous people until fairly recently in history, brought on by foreign peoples and governments, not their own evolution. Many say that the original collective term used for the diverse teachings of the region is "Dharma" or "Sanatana Dharma." There is some impetus in the world today to advocate these terms, either along side of, or instead of the terms "Hindu" and "Hinduism."

Below are some quotes on the words "Hindu" and "Hinduism." These references are not intended as academic or scholarly proofs or arguments used to win a debate. Because they are only offered as a most general overview, source information is not included. It is also not intended that any of these quotes are necessarily more or less authoritative than others, but rather to provide enough discussion that it's easy for the reader to get a feel for the issue. It's easy to find many such references through internet searches and books. Through one's own research and reflection, each person can draw his or her own conclusions about the meanings and uses of the words "Hindu" and "Hinduism," as well as the words "Dharma" and "Sanatana Dharma."


"The word 'Hindu' occurs nowhere in the classical scriptures of Hinduism. The ancestors of the present day Hindus did not identify themselves as Hindus."

"When Western scholars and Christian missionaries arrived on the scene, the Hindus found their faith tradition 'ism'-ized and its name became 'Hinduism'."

"That even an atheist may be called a Hindu is an example of the fact that Hinduism is far beyond a simple religious system, but actually an extremely diverse and complicated river of evolving philosophies and ancient traditions."

"The word Hindu is not a religious word. It is secular in origin. It is derived from the word Sindhu, which is the name of a major river that flows in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. The ancient Greeks and Armenians used to refer the people living beyond the river Sindhu as Hindus and gradually the name struck. When the Muslims came to the sub continent they called the people living in the region as Hindustanis to distinguish them from the foreign Muslims. Subsequently when the British established their rule, they started calling the local religions collectively under the name of Hinduism."

"Only 180 years ago Raja Ram Mohan Roy coined the word 'Hindu' to describe the huge variety of faiths and sects with similar but not identical philosophies, myths and rituals."

"According to the New Encyclopedia Britannica 20:581, 'Hinduism' was a name given in English language in the Nineteenth Century by the English people to the multiplicity of the beliefs and faiths of the people of the Indus land. The British writers in 1830 gave the word 'Hinduism' to be used as the common name for all the beliefs of the people of India excluding the Muslims and converted Christians."

"According to our ex-President [India] and scholar Dr S Radhakrishnan, the term 'Hindu' had originally a territorial and not credal significance. It implies residence in a well-defined geographical area."

"All scholars agree that the category 'Hinduism' is something created by Orientalists. This obviously does not exclude the existence of an Indian spiritual experience. But at a certain point it was decided to use this label, which during Colonialism became a flag for independence, and after that an attempt was made by the people of India to recognize themselves in a common religion."

"Surprisingly, though Hinduism is a very ancient religion, the word 'Hinduism', which today defines it and distinguishes it from the rest of the religions, is of much later origin. In ancient India you had either a yogi, a bhakta, a tantric, a sanyasi, a sankhya vadin, a vedantin, a lokayata, a rishi, a muni, a pandit, a pragna, a yogini, a devi, a swami, a Saivite, a Vaishnavite, a siddha or Buddha, but no Hindu."

"The Supreme Court [of India] in the course of deciding an appeal in an election petition, has interpreted the meaning of 'Hindutva' and 'Hinduism' as a "synonym of 'Indianisation' -- i.e. development of uniform culture by obliterating the differences between all all cultures co-existing in the country.' The unanimous judgement given by the three-judge bench consisting of Justices J.S. Verma, N.P. Singh and K. Venkataswami, on December 11, 1995, has quoted earlier Supreme Court judgements and opinions of Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Dr. Toynbee and others in coming to the conclusion that Hinduism represented a way of life."

"The Supreme Court [of India] bench dealt with the meaning of the word 'Hindutva' or 'Hinduism' when used in election propaganda. The court came to the conclusion that the words 'Hinduism' or 'Hindutva' are not necessarily to be understood and construed narrowly, confined only to the strict Hindu religious practices unrelated to the culture and ethos of the People of India depicting the way of life of the Indian people. Unless the context of a speech indicates a contrary meaning or use, in the abstract, these terms are indicative more of a way of life of the Indian people. Unless the context of a speech indicates a contrary meaning or use, in the abstract, these terms are indicative more of a way of life of the Indian people and are not confined merely to describe persons practicing the Hindu religion as a faith. This clearly means that, by itself, the word 'Hinduism' or 'Hindutva' indicates the culture of the people of India as a whole, irrespective of whether they are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews etc."

"The word 'Hinduism' was coined by European travelers and traders in the 16th century."

"It is interesting to note that the word Hindu is neither Sanskrit nor Dravidian and did not originate in India. It was not used by Indians in their descriptions or writings until the 17th century. If we go by the original definition of the word Hindu, any one who lives in the subcontinent is a Hindu and whatever religion he or she practices is Hinduism. The word Hindu is a secular word and literally translated it means Indian and the word Hinduism denotes any religion or religions that are practiced by the multitude of people living in the land beyond the river Indus."

"It is hard to define Hinduism, let alone defend it. This is the reason when someone asks the question, 'Who is a Hindu or what is Hinduism?' a variety of answers are given. The most appropriate answer perhaps is a long pause and then silence. The confusion that has been propagated in the religion over many centuries has made it prohibitive even to define the word Hinduism."

"Unfortunately Hinduism is represented as monolithic. However, there is no essential Hinduism, no single belief system, and no central authority."

"The Hidden Hindus... include at least 1-2 million non-Indian Americans (Caucasians, African-Americans, Hispanics, etc.) who practice Yoga, meditation, vegetarianism, believe in reincarnation and karma, study the Vedic scriptures, etc., but who –- despite the fact that they are practicing Sanatana Dharma -- will not call themselves 'Hindu', and do not understand that they are part of an ancient and living religious tradition. We need to do everything in our power to bring these two communities together, to bridge this gap."

"It is well known among scholars of South Asian religion that the word 'Hinduism' is a term of convenience--a blanket name for a wide variety of religious practices, beliefs and worldviews that some times have little common ground beyond their Indian origins. Ironically, Hinduism is not an indigenous word to any of the traditions it labels."

"There are legal pronouncements [in India] that Hindus are Indian citizens belonging to a religion born in India. This means Buddhists, Sikhs or Parsis, even those who did not recognize themselves as Hindus, are to be considered Hindus."

"It should be pointed out that the word 'Hindu' is not found in any of the classical writings of India. Nor can it be traced to the classical Indian languages, such as Sanskrit or Tamil. In fact, the word 'Hinduism' has absolutely no origins within India itself. Still, it persists, and traditions as diverse as Shaivism and Jainism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism, have been described as 'Hinduism.' This may work as a matter of convenience, but ultimately it is inaccurate."

"Hinduism has one of the most genetically and ethnically diverse body of adherents in the world. It is hard to classify Hinduism as a religion, as the framework, symbols, leaders and books of reference that make up a typical religion are not uniquely identified in the case of Hinduism. Most commonly it can be seen as a 'way of life' which gives rise to many civilized forms of religions. Hinduism, its religious doctrines, traditions and observances are very typical and inextricably linked to the culture and demographics of India."

"Using the overarching term 'Hinduism' for the many religions of India is comparable to ignoring the different religious orientations within each of the Western traditions, arbitrarily merging them under a single banner—'Semitism' (which, like 'Hinduism,' merely denotes geographical location). Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and other constitute the diverse religious traditions of the Western world. Just as the term Semitism is too broad and reductionistic to represent properly the unique religious manifestation of the great Western traditions, and just as it would be inappropriate to refer to all these traditions as one religion, the term Hinduism falls short."

"The word Hindu is also not mentioned in holy books, Upanishads, Shashtras and Valmiki Ramayan, Shatpath Brahmin Granth etc. And in these holy books there is not any word Hindus or sects or caste system, where as it is clearly mentioned in every chapter of thereof that there is only one God of the Universe."

"According to Jawaharlal Nehru, the earliest reference to the word 'Hindu' can be traced to a Tantrik book of the eighth century C.E., where the word means a people, and not the followers of a particular religion. The use of the word 'Hindu' in connection with a particular religion is of very late occurrence."

"If you examine ancient Indian history and religion, you will find that the word 'Hindu dharma' is not used to describe what is today called 'Hinduism'."

"The word Hindu is relatively modern and is derived from the word Sindhu which means red. The Arabs called the Sindhu river the Indus river since they could not pronounce the S-sound. Thus, the people west of the Sindhu river came to be known as the Hindus and the country got its name India. The original name for the country was Bharata Varsha - the land of Bharata, the king who ruled the country in ancient times. The true name of the religion is Sanatana Dharma. Sanatana means ancient and eternal. Dharma means moral duty. The word Sanatana Dharma connotes a Universal Way of Life for all living entities."

"'Hindu' means a person believing in, following or respecting the eternal values of life, ethical and spiritual, which have sprung up in Bharatkhand [India] and includes any person calling himself a Hindu."

"The word 'hindu' is a non-Indian word, it's origin is Persian/Arabic. It's original meaning is 'dog,' 'low life' or 'slave'."

"The word 'Hindu' means a liar, a slave, a black, an infidel, in short, a man possessed of every evil to be found in the world; while the term Arya means a pious, a learned, a noble, and a wise man, devoted to the true worship of the Eternal. With this explanation, I dare conclude that no man of common sense would like to be called a Hindu, when once he knows its meaning."

"It should be noted that the word 'Hindu' originally referred to any inhabitant of the Indian subcontinent, or Hind, not followers of the religion as it does now."

"If we see in the four thousand years worth of religious literature in India we cannot find a single reference to the word 'Hinduism' anywhere! 'Hinduism' is a word concocted by Europeans to refer to the myriad streams of religious faiths in the land of Hindustan."

"The word 'Hinduism' itself is a geographical term based upon the Sanskrit name for the great river that runs across the northern boundaries of India, known as the Sindhu."

"The word Hinduism is not found in the 'hindu' religion. In fact there is no such thing as the 'hindu' religion."

"The word 'Hinduism' was introduced in the 19th century to define the aggregate beliefs of the Arya, immigrants who left Central Asia in 1500 BC, and animist religions of native populations in India."

"The word 'Hindu' is not found in any Hindu religious text or any other ancient writing. People who lived on the western side of Hindu Kush (killers of Hindus) mountains gave this name to the natives of India. The word Hindu means black, slave, robber, thief and a waylayer."

"Until about 19th century, the term 'Hindu' implied a culture and ethnicity and not religion alone. When the British government started periodic census and established a legal system, need arose to define 'Hinduism' as a clearly-defined religion, along the lines of Christianity or Islam."

"The word 'Hinduism' originated about only 200-300 years ago."

"Beginning around 1000 AD, invading armies from the Middle East called the place beyond the Sindhu 'Hindustan' and the people who lived there the 'Hindus'"

"Today most Western scholars seem resigned to the inconclusiveness of the project of defining Hinduism. Some decline to use the word 'Hinduism' at all, or prefer to use it only in the plural, 'Hinduisms.'"

"At a very early date, Persian explorers entered the Indian subcontinent from the far Northwest. After they returned, they published chronicles. But due to the phonetics of their native Persian language, the 'S' of Sind became an aspirated 'H.' This is how the people of the Indus Valley came to be known generically as "Hindus" by the Persians. This flawed intonation inevitably stuck. And was later re-imported when the invading Moguls conquered India. Since they always referred to the locals as "Hindus," the term was adopted by the Indians themselves as a way of distinguishing native culture from that of the foreign Muslims."

"The word Hinduism was coined by the Muslim scholar Alberuni in the 11th century C.E."

"Various origins for the word 'Hinduism' have been suggested: It may be derived from an ancient inscription translated as: 'The country lying between the Himalayan mountain and Bindu Sarovara is known as Hindusthan by combination of the first letter 'hi' of 'Himalaya' and the last compound letter 'ndu' of the word `Bindu.' Bindu Sarovara is called the Cape Comorin sea in modern times."

Hinduism did not exist before 1830. It was created by the English colonialists in the 1830s. This remarkable circumstance is evidenced by the fact that none of the travelers who visited India before English rule used the word 'Hindu'.... This is amply borne out by the Encyclopedia Britannica, which states: "The term Hinduism ... [was] introduced in about 1830 by British writers." In other words, the founding father of 'Hinduism' is an Englishman!

"According to the Hindu Scholars, Hinduism is a misnomer and the religion ‘Hinduism’ should be either referred to as ‘Sanatana Dharma’, which means eternal religion, or as Vedic Dharma, meaning religion of the Vedas. According to Swami Vivekananda, the followers of this religion are referred to as Vendantists."

"The word Hinduism is an incorrect nomenclature, which was coined by the British. Thereafter, it has stuck due to the ignorance of its followers. The term 'ism' refers to an ideology that is to be propagated and by any method imposed on others for e.g. Marxism, socialism, communism, imperialism and capitalism but the Hindus have no such 'ism'. Hindus follow the continuum process of evolution; for the Hindus do not have any unidirectional ideology, therefore, in Hindu Dharma there is no place for any 'ism'. Hindus are democratic in approach, for each individual is free to adopt any philosophy or way to self-realization."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Siddhanta Tattva Vindu

By Adi Sankaracharya, 788-820 CE

1) Nor earth nor water, fire nor liquid air, nor ether, nor the powers, nor these in one; undifferentiated, in dreamless perfect rest, that, the One, final, blest, alone, am I.

2) Nor castes nor their divisions, rite nor rule, are mine, nor fixing mind and thought and mood; no longer dreaming things not Self art 'I' and 'mine,' that, the One, final, blest, alone, am I.

3) Nor mother, father, nor the gods and worlds, nor Scriptures, offerings, shrines are there, they say, in dreamlessness abandoned by the lonely Self; that, the One, final, blest, alone, am I.

4) Nor sectary of Cause or Lord or Life knows That, nor follower of Saint or Rite, in perfect union, pure of all but Self, that, the One, final, blest, alone, am I.

5) Nor upward, downward, nor within, without; nor mid-ward, backward, That, nor east nor west; all-present everywhere in part-less unity, that, the One, final, blest, alone, am I.

6) Nor white nor black nor yellow, That, nor red; nor small nor very great nor short nor long; formless, yet like a light, a star; that, the One, final, blest, alone, am I.

7) Nor teacher, teaching, learner, what is learned; nor thou nor I nor this expanded world; conscious of its own form, from error free, that, the One, final, blest, alone, am I.

8) Nor waking, mine, nor dream, nor dreamless sleep; nor fire of life or heart or seeing soul; these three are of un-wisdom; but the fourth, that, the One, final, blest, alone, am I.

9) Even expanded for the sake of Self -- Self, that, still perfect, on no other rests -- all the wide world besides is little worth. that, the One, final, blest, alone, am I.

10) Nor is this first with any second to it; nor lonely this, nor yet has it compeers; nor is this second-less One void or filled with aught; how shall I tell this perfect wisdom's crowd?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Yoga Darshana and the Goal of Seeing Reality - Swami Rama
Swami Rama Foundation

(Sankhya Philosophy and the Yoga Sutras)
Swami Rama

Yoga darshana is one of the most ancient darshanas. The word darshana comes from the root drishyate anena which means, “that through which you can see.” That particular system through which you can see Reality is called darshana. Just as you can see yourself in the mirror, so also, through yoga darshana, the yoga sutras, can you see the Self. Darshana is not the same thing as philosophy. Philosophy is a compound word meaning “love for knowledge.” Darshana is not a mere love for knowledge. This is one difference between oriental and occidental philosophy: the ultimate goal of darshana is to see Reality.

Yoga science is based on Samkhya philosophy, which is the very basis of all sciences. Samkhya (samyag akhyate) means, “that which explains the whole.” Samkhya embraces the whole universe—how the universe came into existence, and all relationships within the universe. It explains human life on all levels—our relationship with the universe, our relationship with the creator who created the universe (if there is any), our relationships with our own mind and our inner being, our relationship with the center of consciousness, and our very existence. Even if a person is agnostic or atheist, they will get something from Samkhya philosophy.

See also the article on Samkhya philosophy:

The Samkhya philosophy gave birth to mathematics. If there were no mathematics, no one would understand science. All the sciences would crumble if mathematics were removed because science is based on mathematics. Samkhya philosophy is the very basis of yoga science. I am teaching you what I was taught in the monastery by a great swami, Chakravarti, who was a great Indian mathematician. He taught me by drawing triangles, lines, and dots in the sand.

Samkhya philosophy defines the whole process of understanding that which is real and that which is not real. Here the word Reality is not used as you use it in the external world. Let us consider the blackboard I am using. Is it real? According to Samkhya philosophy, the blackboard is not real because Reality is that which is not subject to change, death, and decay. It is true that it has a material reality, but the blackboard itself is not real because its form and name can change at any time. If an object’s form and name can change, it is not Absolute Reality. According to Samkhya, Reality, or Truth, is that which exists in all three times—the past, present, and future. In the material world, a man of flesh and bones is real, but in Samkhya philosophy, Reality means that which is everlasting, exists in all times, and is not subject to change, death, and decay. The world appears to exist; it appears to be real, but actually it is not because it exists on the existence of something else. Those who do not know Reality, think that the world is real. To those who know Samkhya, the world is not real.

When yoga science was taught to us in the monastery, they always taught Karika, a classical text of Buddhism, and Samkhya along with it so it could be more easily understood. Karika, Samkhya, and yoga are very closely related to each other. If you want to understand the systems of Indian philosophy, including Buddhism and Jainism, you should study the Karika. The Karika does not say that one should try to understand God or talk about heaven and hell; it is very practical. The first sutra of the Karika is: dukha-traya-abhighatat: “Oh man, be aware of the pain that arises from three levels—pain coming from within, pain coming from outside, and pain coming from nature. First gain your freedom from these three sets of pain.”

The science of yoga is thousands of years old. Man has always searched for ways to make life happier in the external world. Though he was partially successful, he was not yet truly happy. Then he started searching for an internal way of organizing the internal states. The great sages, with the help of meditation techniques, dived deep into the inner realms of their being and experienced the unspoken great words of wisdom. Some five thousand years ago, when there were no printing presses, the teachings were imparted to students orally in a very compact form called sutras so they could be easily remembered. Through practices and experience, the truths given by the teachers could be verified.

Patanjali was a great sage who systematized and organized the study and teachings of yoga. He was not the first teacher of yoga, nor is he considered to be the originator of yoga science. There is a saying in Sanskrit, “One who was born first, the first who came into manifestation, was the first teacher of yoga.” Patanjali was only the codifier of yoga science. His approach is very practical; he was not a simple religious preacher or priest, but a scientist and a great philosopher who understood life with its currents and crosscurrents. He was a great yogi who practiced, who knew, and who made experiments. Patanjali was an enlightened being, a sage, who has given us yoga science for the benefit of all human beings.

After doing his own experiments for a long time, Patanjali organized the study of the internal states into one hundred ninety-six sutras. These sutras are called yoga darshana. The word sutra means “a string,” and the yoga sutras are connected with each other like the beads of a mala. Patanjali sometimes used several sutras to express the same idea if one sutra was not adequate to completely explain a particular subject. If more than one sutra is used for explaining a particular concept, it means that concept is very essential and should be thoroughly understood.

The Yoga Sutras is a very important classical text. I want to give you a glimpse of the whole text. All three schools of Buddhism—Mahayana, Hinayana, and Nirvayana—and the Jain teachings have borrowed from this text. The Upanishads are replete with the teachings of yoga science. Every religion in the world includes something about yoga, yet yoga is not a religion.

Every word of the sutras has meaning, so you need to understand each word properly in order to understand the whole sutra. Sutras are similar to aphorisms in English, but they are not mere aphorisms. They are compact, concise, abstruse sentences that cannot be understood without expansion and explanation. I studied the sutras many times in my childhood, yet I still did not really know much about them. The yoga sutras are not actually meant for students to study because they will drive you crazy! They are really meant as an outline for the teachers. If you study only the sutra as it is, you will not understand what it means. Patanjali intended for the teachers to practice the sutras and to expand on them for students. Understanding has nothing to do with how learned you are. If someone is a very learned person and is knowledgeable about the scriptures but does not practice, it will be very difficult for that person to comprehend the entire concept, philosophy, psychology, and practical aspects of Patanjali. If you do not practice the yoga sutras, you cannot explain them, no matter how much you study, and you will make serious mistakes. Only when you practice the sutras will you understand them very clearly. Only those teachers who are competent, who have studied the tradition from their competent teachers, and who have practiced and applied the truths therein, have the right to teach the yoga sutras. In ancient times only those who were adept taught the sutras. No one would study them from anyone who was not a perfect yogi. Only someone who has practiced this science with mind, action, and speech, and who has traditionally studied this science, can explain and impart the knowledge to those students who are prepared.

The first four sutras are very important. They are the cornerstones of the architecture of yoga science. Patanjali explains the first four sutras of the first chapter in the entire one hundred ninety-six sutras. These four sutras are the nucleus; the rest of the sutras are the explanation.

The four basic sutras are:

1) Now yoga science is being expounded.

2) By gaining control over mind and its modifications one can attain the highest state of wisdom or samadhi.

3) When you come to realize your essential nature, you get freedom.

4) You are constantly identifying yourself with the objects of the world. That is why you are suffering.

Patanjali did not write these sutras for swamis or renunciates; he meant them for the people of the world so that one can live in the world yet remain unaffected and undisturbed, enjoying peace, happiness, and bliss. Students often ask their teacher for that happiness they can attain themselves by simple methods, by simple ways in life. Don’t tell yourself that you cannot have happiness and bliss; you can do that. Don’t believe that the external world or the objects of the world can give you peace, happiness, and bliss. Many people are rushing here and there, worrying, and being tossed by the objects of the world. To gain happiness you do not have to run around or go here and there. It is all at your disposal and within your reach. Peace is within you.

Have you determined to find peace, happiness, and bliss? Have you decided to do that? Or are you still searching for someone else who will give you peace, happiness, and bliss? The scriptures say that no one in the world will ever find these goals in any relationship. Peace and happiness are within you, beyond your body, breath, senses, and mind. You can attain that peace by learning how to direct your energies within toward the deeper aspects of your being. To attain that you do not have to retire from the world. You do not have to shun your relationships or abstain from your duties. You only need to discipline yourself. Discipline means not allowing yourself to be dissipated mentally by your thoughts, actions, or speech. Patanjali, the codifier of yoga science, taught that all human beings can attain the goal of human life by understanding the yoga sutras, practicing them, and applying them in daily life.

Yoga is a science, a philosophy, and a psychology. Yoga science deals with the subtleties of life. It offers a practical side to philosophy and provides a variety of techniques. Yoga psychology teaches how to apply yoga science to know yourself. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are the foundation of ancient psychology, including the Buddhist, Zen, Jain, and other psychology systems that support the seven systems of Indian philosophy. There is no real distinction between Eastern and Western psychology. The actual distinction is between the ancient and modern psychologies. There are many branches of ancient psychology.

The word psychology means “the science of mental life,” but modern psychology has not developed to the extent where it can truly say that it knows how to study mental life. When you study mind as a subject you are merely collecting the information and opinions of others and trying to study what it is. I never met anyone who could really study my mind, even though I went to well-known psychics. They made various predictions that I did not believe. I said, “Tell me what is going on now in my mind and what has happened with me in the past, then I will believe what is going to happen with me in the future.”

Modern psychology has really studied only behaviorism. That is not the study of the mind, but only aspects of the mind. Behaviorism is an incomplete science. Very little of the mind is expressed through behavior. Therefore, by studying behavior you cannot understand the totality of the mind. Historically, modern psychology is based on the study of the behavior of mentally abnormal people. Patanjali did not base his science on abnormal behavior, even though he was fully aware of that particular category of mind. Modern psychology was born out of the study of misery, out of trying to understand mental problems that could not be handled by medicines. Modern psychology teaches that we cannot fully understand anyone’s thinking process because we cannot really know how someone is thinking. Patanjali studied and analyzed the normal mind in its totality, with all its functions and modifications. Yoga psychology evolved from the prime necessity of attaining realization.

Modern psychology is not yet a finished product. It reaches certain conclusions today, and tomorrow those conclusions are discarded. Besides behaviorism there was another branch of psychology in which such great psychologists as Freud, James, Williams, and Jung tried to understand the deeper aspects of the mind, but they did not thoroughly accomplish this. They did begin to study hypnosis, but did not really go far in their studies of the mind using hypnosis. Self-hypnosis and autosuggestions can help people with problems up to a certain extent, but they cannot lead you to know the deeper levels of life. At this point, the ancient or yoga psychology begins its study.

Ancient psychology explains that the human mind has an immense capacity. If the mind can be prevented from distractions and dissipation, it can be disciplined and directed in the right direction. Yoga psychology is a complete science. Yoga psychology is very deep and can be understood only by practicing it, not by memorizing the yoga sutras. Patanjali’s method is subtle, exact, and profound. If modern psychologists fully understood Patanjali’s subtle methods, they could do tremendous good for society. But modern psychologists are usually not taught to go beyond the conscious and unconscious fields of the mind, or to become aware of the soul, which is the very goal of human life.

Psychology deals with mental life, both the conscious and unconscious. With the help of analysis and therapy, that which is in the unconscious is brought into the conscious mind, where it can be addressed. Modern psychology often deals with behavior, but yoga science goes to the very core of the soul, from where springs mind and its modifications. Unless you know your own sva-rupa, your own real Self, you cannot have perfect control over your mind and its modifications.

How is One to Reach Knowledge, Liberation, and Dispassion

Excerpted from Ashtavakra Gita


How is one to acquire knowledge? How is one to attain liberation? And
how is one to reach dispassion? Tell me this, sir. 1.1


If you are seeking liberation, my son, avoid the objects of the
senses like poison and cultivate tolerance, sincerity, compassion,
contentment, and truthfulness as the antidote. 1.2

You do not consist of any of the elements -- earth, water, fire, air,
or even ether. To be liberated, know yourself as consisting of
consciousness, the witness of these. 1.3

If only you will remain resting in consciousness, seeing yourself as
distinct from the body, then even now you will become happy, peaceful
and free from bonds. 1.4

You do not belong to the brahmin or any other caste, you are not at
any stage, nor are you anything that the eye can see. You are
unattached and formless, the witness of everything -- so be happy. 1.5

Righteousness and unrighteousness, pleasure and pain are purely of
the mind and are no concern of yours. You are neither the doer nor
the reaper of the consequences, so you are always free. 1.6

You are the one witness of everything and are always completely free.
The cause of your bondage is that you see the witness as something
other than this. 1.7

Since you have been bitten by the black snake, the opinion about
yourself that "I am the doer," drink the antidote of faith in the
fact that "I am not the doer," and be happy. 1.8

Burn down the forest of ignorance with the fire of the understanding
that "I am the one pure awareness," and be happy and free from
distress. 1.9

That in which all this appears is imagined like the snake in a rope;
that joy, supreme joy, and awareness is what you are, so be happy.

If one thinks of oneself as free, one is free, and if one thinks of
oneself as bound, one is bound. Here this saying is true, "Thinking
makes it so." 1.11

Your real nature is as the one perfect, free, and actionless
consciousness, the all-pervading witness -- unattached to anything,
desireless and at peace. It is from illusion that you seem to be
involved in samsara. 1.12

Meditate on yourself as motionless awareness, free from any dualism,
giving up the mistaken idea that you are just a derivative
consciousness or anything external or internal. 1.13

You have long been trapped in the snare of identification with the
body. Sever it with the knife of knowledge that "I am awareness," and
be happy, my son. 1.14

You are really unbound and actionless, self-illuminating and spotless
already. The cause of your bondage is that you are still resorting to
stilling the mind. 1.15

All of this is really filled by you and strung out in you, for what
you consist of is pure awareness -- so don't be small-minded. 1.16

You are unconditioned and changeless, formless and immovable,
unfathomable awareness, unperturbable: so hold to nothing but
consciousness. 1.17

Recognise that the apparent is unreal, while the unmanifest is
abiding. Through this initiation into truth you will escape falling
into unreality again. 1.18

Just as a mirror exists everywhere both within and apart from its
reflected images, so the Supreme Lord exists everywhere within and
apart from this body. 1.19

Just as one and the same all-pervading space exists within and
without a jar, so the eternal, everlasting God exists in the totality
of things. 1.20